Toronto, Ontario Environmental Volunteer Program

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Program

Status: Launched in 1996

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The Toronto Environmental Volunteers (TEV) are committed individuals who play an important role in the environmental education of the residents of Toronto.

We focus on many environmental issues such as solid waste management (garbage, recycling and compostings), water efficiency, household hazardous waste, storm water management, energy efficiency and air quality.

In 1996, the TEV program was created as a means to aid the City of Toronto in its goal of achieving a 60 per cent waste diversion target by 2006. The program was originally known as the Waste Watcher Program, and was initially identified as a program that would train volunteers to increase awareness and participation in Toronto's recycling and composting programs.

Today, the focus of TEV has increased in scope to assist the City of Toronto in meeting its commitment to improving the environment. The program was renamed the Toronto Environmental Volunteer program and currently plays an integral role in the overall environmental education of the residents of Toronto.

TEV enlists volunteers throughout the city strengthening their knowledge and that of their communities in solid waste management issues (waste reduction, recycling, composting, organic waste collection), household hazardous waste, energy and water efficiency, wastewater education, pesticide reduction and air quality.

TEV has been an extremely successful way to network with other individuals with similar ideas about what can be done in Toronto to educate residents about diverting the waste that they create from the landfill. It is a perfect way to reinforce and support your personal interests and goals in waste reduction and to keep up-to-date on what is changing or developing in the environmental field in the City of Toronto.

The TEV program consists of two main components – training and community outreach. TEV is active throughout the year with ongoing training and community outreach opportunities.

TEV volunteers are provided with comprehensive training sessions about a variety of environmental topics and initiatives. We learn about environmental issues currently facing our world and explore solutions. We also learn about specific City of Toronto environmental initiatives and programs that have been developed to reduce our impact on the environment. Our training sessions include presentations from City staff, community groups and environmental professionals.

The purpose of our training sessions are to keep you informed about what the City and your community are doing for the environment, so that you can spread that information to others. Many of our training sessions are also designed to prepare you for participation in specific events.

You don’t need to have a background in the environment to join TEV and make a difference. We provide you with all the training you need. You are able to pick and choose what training sessions interest you. You are welcome to drop into any of our upcoming training sessions and get a feel for our group.

We ask that you complete 20 hours of training, as part of your volunteer commitment.

Community Outreach
Toronto Environmental Volunteers participate in more than 150 community outreach events throughout the city each year, and strive to enhance environmental awareness in their community.

At each event we have the opportunity to engage people in meaningful discussions and inspire change. We promote City environmental initiatives and encourage residents to participate in the programs available to them. We are a source of information for the community and help the public with their questions and concerns.

The great thing about being a Toronto Environmental Volunteer is that there is so much to do all year long - just pick what interests you the most and join an existing initiative or start one yourself! A commitment of 40 hours of community outreach activities is required to graduate from the program, but many volunteers continue to participate in community environmental projects after their 40-hour outreach time. We encourage you to stay on and keep making a difference in your community.

Advantages of being a Toronto Environmental Volunteer:

  • The opportunity to make a difference in your environment and your City
  • Chance to meet many interesting, enthusiastic and committed environmentalists
  • Learn about the City and how it works and meet many of the people who live here
  • Make new friends, network with employers, demonstrate your skills and knowledge and gain valuable work experience and references for work well done
  • Free access to many events such as: the Green Living Show, Canada Blooms, the International Bike Show, CNE, and more…
  • Being part of a team of wonderful people, who speak 47 languages, who come from varied backgrounds, and range in age from 14 and up.
  • Work outside and enjoy some great weather
  • Earn high school credit for community service (40 hours)
  • Have fun!

As a Toronto Environmental Volunteer, you will receive:

  • 20 hours of training about current environmental issues in the City of Toronto
  • Support during your 40 hour outreach commitment
  • A diploma upon completion of the program
  • Access to an amazing network of enthusiastic individuals
  • A great feeling that you are helping the City of Toronto achieve its waste diversion target as well as improving your local community and environment
  • A TEV logo T-shirt and hat